Facebook status update (Part 3): I can use any logo I want to refer to Facebook… right?
We previously posted about other legal issues which have been keeping Facebook busy lately, namely, a legal dispute over its use of the term “timeline” which settled out of Court and a claim it brought against 11 defendant typosquatters in which Facebook was awarded $2.8 million in statutory damages.
On 1 May, Facebook filed a Form 10-Q with the United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission setting out its First Quarter results for 2013, including revenue of $1.46 Billion (of which more than 70% has come from advertising). Facebook has made no secret of a range of new initiatives in the pipeline; which means its terms and conditions remain in a permanent state of flux.
While we’re on the topic of Facebook’s website terms and conditions, on or around 30 April 2013, Facebook totally reworked its Facebook Brand resources, creating a new site devoted to this at the domain name facebookbrand.com. The site sets out the ways in which Facebook’s logos, buttons, plugins, screenshots and textual references to Facebook can and cannot be used.
Similar to many companies’ internal brand guidelines, Facebook’s are very strict, regulating issues such as surrounding text which must accompany a logo, the minimum amount of clear space to be kept free around a logo and when you need to ask Facebook for specific permission.
Reproducing a Facebook logo in breach of the guidelines may not only amount to a breach of contract if you are a Facebook user (given that by continuing to use the platform you accept all terms, even where these may change without notice to you), but also to copyright or trade mark infringement (depending on the circumstances in which it is used).
While many of the conditions featured on the facebookbrand.com site are no different to previous conditions, the most commonly used Facebook logo, the “f” logo has changed. If you are using the “f” logo to refer to your presence on social media (and note, this is the only circumstance in which it should be used), you should ensure that you are using the up to date logo and that you comply with all of Facebook’s additional terms. Failure to do so means you may want to prepare to face Facebook… in the Courtroom.